A charity football game between members of New York City’s police and fire departments ended in chaos Sunday when a controversial hit sparked two brawls on the field.
The New York Post reported that the NYPD team was holding a comfortable 29-13 lead late in the fourth quarter when the FDNY’s quarterback was tackled near the NYPD sideline.
The FDNY rushed across the field following the play, which did not result in a penalty. From there, matters degenerated into a series of physical and verbal confrontations, while coaches and fellow first responders tried to keep order.
“They hit our quarterback out of bounds, and that’s how things started,” FDNY coach Steve Orr told the paper. “There were a lot of hotheads there.”
The two sides were briefly separated, but the yelling continued and another fight broke out. Eventually the sides separated for good after the public address announcer reminded the teams they were taking part in a charity game.
According to the Post, at least one firefighter was bloodied during the brawl and another was knocked to the ground. No serious injuries were reported.
The game, known as the Fun City Bowl, raises money for the families of firefighters and police officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
This is not the first time a charity game has led to violence between the departments. In 2014, a bench-clearing brawl broke out at an NYPD-FDNY hockey game.
“Football is a competitive sport, whether it is the NFL Super Bowl or the annual NYPD-FDNY challenge,” the police department said in a statement Monday. “It is part of the spirit of the sport, but it all ends on the field.”
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